Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ethiopian domestic worker beaten on camera commits suicide


BEIRUT: The Ethiopian domestic worker whose beating outside her country's consulate was widely publicized on video committed suicide Wednesday morning, Ethiopia’s consul general in Lebanon confirmed to The Daily Star.

Alem Dechasa hanged herself using her bed sheets between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., Ethiopian General Consul Asaminew Debelie Bonssa said doctors told him. He spoke to The Daily Star while returning from the hospital Psychiatrique de la Croix Hospital, known as Deir al-Salib. Police took her to the hospital after the incident.

The video released by LBCI last week showed Dechasa moaning as a man, later identified as Ali Mahfouz, beat her and forced her into a car. According to Bonssa, the incident took place two weeks prior to its release.” Mahfouz said Dechasa had previously attempted suicide.

Bonssa said he saw Dechasa Saturday and she appeared fine and was making plans to return to her family. He said doctors told him they checked on her at 5 a.m. this morning and when they returned at 6 a.m. she was dead.

He said he did not know her age and had not seen her passport given that she came into Lebanon through Sudan three years ago illegally.

Bonssa said he was “deeply shocked” by the news.

The hospital declined to comment, citing privacy concerns.